Dec 13, 2015

Posted by in Repattern Your Life Articles

Getting to the Root: Staying Well with Root Teas and Vegetables during the Cold Months

During fall and winter, of course, there isn’t as much access to sunlight if you live in the Northern Hemisphere. This shift in light and temperature makes a difference in how you nourish and sustain yourself and your body-mind system through these seasons with root teas and vegetables.

Your digestion relies on heat to assimilate energy and nourishment from your food. The sun during the summer months assists with this process. In turn, it is much easier to digest foods and assimilate the energy from them where the plants are storing their energy. This means that during the growth season they are putting their energy into their leaves and flowers so it is easier to metabolize and benefit from the energy in the leaves and flowers of the plant as it is growing above ground.

In fall and winter, plants put their energy in their roots to retain nourishment during the colder time of the year. It is for this reason that eating foods that are created from roots and below the ground that your energy will also be most nourished during this time of year. Like the seasons, in fall and winter you need to have metabolic warmers while the body is in the process of conserving cellular and metabolic activity.

Eating specific foods and drinking certain hot liquids that feed and fuel your metabolism rather than slow it down, ultimately support digestive balance and efficiency.  We know that, scientifically speaking, not all calories are created equal. When you drink warm teas and water throughout the day, you can also continually stoke your metabolism.~The Hot Belly Diet by Dr. Suhas G. Kshirsagar

This means that digestion takes a longer time. It takes fruits a longer time to digest. Foods that are primarily derived from roots take a longer time to digest. These foods include root vegetables like sweet potatoes, parsnips, beets, onions, garlic and carrots. This is why in the winter months it is important to cook your foods, instead of eating cold salads, to digest your food more easily. It’s about conserving heat and energy during this time to retain and absorb more energy.

Warming Chai SpicesBy consciously choosing your foods with this in mind, you will experience greater wellness and well-being during the cold months. 

Use spices that warm likecinnamon, cardamom, and anise. They are very digestible. Drink chai tea to balance, warm and nourish your entire system. This tea blend stimulate circulation. Many of the spices in chai also contain antioxidants and fight free radicals.

You can still benefit from the harvest of herbs from the summer with herbal teas that will support your wellness and well-being. Using some of the roots (not all of the plant’s resources) will benefit you in keeping warm and healthy.

In order to make a root tea you can purchase some from a health food store at this time of year. Only a few pieces of root is needed to make a cup of tea, however, you can make a decoction also. Heat your water, and then be sure not to add boiling water directly to your roots as this will destroy the medicinal properties.

Steps for Making a Tea Decoction: http://m. Wikihow.com/Make-a-Decoction

Root Teas

Harvested Roots for TeaElecampane root: This root supports your lungs when you have a wet cough. You can simply place a few pieces of the root that has been cut into pieces and placed in hot water to steep for about 5-7 minutes before drinking. Elecampane root supports asthma and bronchitis, and is helpful for its expectorant qualities.

Marshmallow root: This root supports your lungs when you have a dry cough. It is helpful in cases where you have a sore throat, experiencing diarrhea or indigestion. Make this tea the same way as above.

Ginger Root: This root when sliced and peeled and heated to a boil for 10 minutes, then cooled and steeped after 15 minutes will support bronchial health.

An Ounce of Prevention

Onions, Leeks and Garlic: These vegetables are wonderful when it comes to prevention. They lower cholesterol and blood pressure. They contain Quercitin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that helps with conditions like arthritis. They also go a long way in stopping a cold in its tracks when incorporated into your cooking. Eat them both raw and cooked.

Digestion

In the cooler months especially it is important to support your digestion to have access to the energy provided by the foods you eat.

Clearing out “digestive sludge”-residue from poorly digested food that provokes hormonal imbalances and ultimately triggers inflammation, the root of virtually all disease, is an important aspect of staying healthy.~ The Hot Belly Diet

Dandelion Root works well to support your digestion and liver detoxification. It tones the pancreas and and blood with a gentle laxative effect.

Fennel: Adding fennel to your meal either in a dish that you are making or fennel seeds brewed in a tea steeped for about 10-15 minute will also help with the process of digestive cleansing, as well as support respiratory health.

Ashwaganda Root: This is a tonic and supports balancing your hormones, especially testosterone. It supports your eyes, stomach and lungs, and also nourishes your nervous system. You cook with this root, and place it is soups with parsnips, beets, garlic, onions and/or carrots. It can also be used in a decocted tea.

Burdock Root: This is a nutritive liver tonic that helps to build and cleanse the blood. It promotes cleansing of the kidneys, as well as supporting skin health, arthritis and cancer prevention. Burdock root is a food that you will find in Asian cultures. It is placed in soups and also pickled. It is great for supporting your digestive health.

Detoxification during the Winter Months

The best time of year for dieting and detoxification is during the spring and summer months when you have more support for lowering your calories and gaining warming energy from the sun to increase your metabolism. During the dark months, you can use green tea when eating a meal that is more fatty foods to tonify your liver and support detoxification. You can also make an herbal tea from plants like Tulsi (Holy Basil) or Tulsi Rose tea that supports you staying connected to the fire in your heart, supports your immune system while adapting to the changes that come your way during the cooler months.

Resources from Article

Recipe for Chai Tea: http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/how-to-make-a-chai-tea-kit-to-give-as-a-gift?sub=2806006_2102426#.cpOGnq8WR
Tulsi Rose Tea: http://organicindiausa.com/organic-india-tulsi-sweet-rose-tea/
The Hot Belly Diet book: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Belly-Diet-Ayurvedic-Metabolism/dp/147673481X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1450031238&sr=8-1&keywords=the+hot+belly+diet
Herbal Teas (101 Nourishing Blends for Daily Health and Vitality book: http://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Teas-Nourishing-Blends-Vitality/dp/1580170994/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450030766&sr=1-2&keywords=herbal+teas+book
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